Students Call for Salary Increment for Teachers

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In the Face of 20% Rise for Civil Servants

The increase in number of schools within the country and the recent 20% salary increment for civil servants across the board appears to have afforded a student organisation the appropriate occasion to press for similar increase in the salaries of teachers and the construction of better staff quarters for those in the provinces.

These concerns, raised by the Young Talented Organisation, forms part of a report presented to the National Assembly by a group of students seeking to build a better, safer, more peaceful and secure world for the world’s children.  “One thing we are concerned about is that government schools lose all their teachers to private schools. This is one reason why students in private schools do far better than children in public schools. Salaries of teachers must be well increased and better staff quarters built for them in the provinces,” the report elucidated.

The report went on to view that if considered by government, a lot more would be achieved in the drive to accomplish the goals set in Vision 2020, the Millennium Development Goals, as well as transform The Gambia into the Silicon Valley of Africa and a world economic super power.

According to the students’ report, the quality of education in the country continues to attract attention- hence the importance of targets that have recently been mapped out to improve on it.

“Common Entrance (Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination) should be reintroduced. This notwithstanding, government has to recognize that basic education accords us an unparalleled opportunity to set the basis for our overall development.

“This is why basic education needs to be conceived from a holistic perspective, incorporating both academic and non-academic outcomes, and thus the justification for the integration of human rights into the curriculum,” the report noted.

While acknowledging the significant achievements made by government in areas such as strong political commitment to the welfare of children, the report expressed the view that there is still some way to go before children are assured that their rights as enshrined and guaranteed in the African Charter.

The Gambia’s shortcomings, according to the report, include the number of children persistently found loitering on the streets and some that are still affected by child labour, violence, neglect, stigma, discrimination and other forms of abuse and exploitation. “In view of all these, we must as a nation increase and improve on the measures and mechanisms adopted for the protection children.”

The student organisationfurtherexpressed concern about the increasingly high number of children who have taken to begging in the streets, most especially the Almudos who are believed to be undergoing economic exploitation and corporal punishment daily, making them one of the most vulnerable groups of children.

The report went on to call on government to conduct a study to better assess the scope of this phenomenon and to introduce programmes and legislation to discourage and prevent the use of children in begging by bringing to justice any body associated with the perpetration of such a social vice.  

It also recommends for government to reinforce its efforts to provide support and material assistance to economically disadvantaged families and to guarantee the rights of children to adequate standard of living. 

“If we can get right for children- if we can deliver our commitments and enable every child in the Gambia to enjoy the right to a childhood, to health, education, equity, and protection then we can get it right for people of all ages”, the student’s report concludes.

Author: By Baboucarr Senghore
Source: The Point